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 Post subject: Looking for an advice from the DAW crowd on audio interfaces
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3232
Location: ITALY
Hi all.

I'm thinking about an USB/FW audio interface, and I'd like to receive an advice (if any) from people involved in DAW and the likes.

Actually I don't need a DAW interface but up to now I think there's nothing serious in between from those boxes and sound cards.
Main use will be playback/monitoring, I need a pair of output, for active speakers (Audioengine 2) and a seriously amplified one for headphones (Fostex T40)).
A secondary use would be data logging (audio acquisition for basic acoustic measures), but an ADC is not strictly mandatory, I can also evaluate a separate ADC unit (to be fair, I've already discarded the EMU 404 as it sounds pretty bad, even if they're recommended as being good at such a secondary task).

Even if a quality mic input is a tad less important than preamplified and amplified outputs, I would not rather to rely on to audiophile-grade interfaces/USB-Dac+Headamp combo, as I highly disregard them (vast majority of that stuff is very often just expensive crap, even if they're so sought after onto Head-Fi.org and the likes).

So I'm looking for something decent, well built, durable, with high performance ADC/DAC and audio modules, and maybe a not too ugly aesthetics.
Budget is still not allotted, but I'd like to spend no more than a four channel Focusrite Saffire (which already has too many I/O ports for my needs, but that above all would not seem so good as an headamp).

Do you think there's any part or combo I should look at? Thanks in advance.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for an advice from the DAW crowd on audio interf
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 11:18 am 
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Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 4:14 pm
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For a similar use case, I love my Mackie Onyx Blackjack.

I have it hooked up to my 2 studio monitors (for mixing) and have taken some audio measurements (EMM-6 mic + Room EQ Wizard) with it. I also record vocals using an SM57 and needed something with lots of gain and it delivers. From what I understand, it's headphone amp is louder than the Focusrite 2i2's (the biggest competitor in the price/feature range) - I usually run my Sony MDR-V6 at 1/10 the max gain.

I haven't used any other interfaces so naturally I'm biased, but it's one option.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for an advice from the DAW crowd on audio interf
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 7:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
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Location: ITALY
Jgod wrote:
I haven't used any other interfaces so naturally I'm biased, but it's one option.


Thanks Jgod, I appreciate: and I hope that other DAW users, along with our "resident expert" bonestonne, want to give their advices.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on audio interfacese from the DAW use
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 4:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3232
Location: ITALY
It would seem that about no one (but you, Jgod) of the several DAW users on SPCR really cares to advice onto audio interfaces: weird...

Well, do you have any thought about some more expensive (than Mackie Onyx or Focurite Scarlett) but also more compact interfaces, such as the Focusrite Forte Premium or the Apogee Duet 2?

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for an advice from the DAW crowd on audio interf
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 6:27 am 
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Location: ITALY
Just FYI: I ended up going with a TC Electronic Desktop Konnect 6 (and I also swap the Audioengine with a pair of more massive Tannoy Reveal 402), even if it's physically a tad more obtrusive than I hoped.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for an advice from the DAW crowd on audio interf
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 10:47 am 
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Whoops, sorry I didn't get to give feedback in time! I think the compact interfaces are cool (albeit a little pricey), and I know a lot of people who love them. If mobility is top priority, then nothing else can match them, otherwise you can get something slightly bigger with the same audio quality for less I'd think.

Enjoy your new interface and monitors 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for an advice from the DAW crowd on audio interf
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:10 pm
Posts: 1832
Location: Northern New Jersey
Whoops, been really busy in the garage lately, try PMing me next time..

What I will say is that the TC Electronic stuff is really nice. I don't see too many people in the US running the gear because we have "cheaper" brands that have the marginal quality people aim for. M-Audio comes to mind (even having worked with them for a while, a lot of their lower end gear is just that).

I think you made a great buy. The Tannoys are a bit on the big side if you have a smaller desk (my desk is long, but somewhat narrow, making speaker size a big issue), but by no means bad speakers. Like many of the speakers similar to them, just watch out for any power supply issues. They might have a strange thumping noise that goes away after being powered on, that's a sign of trouble to come. I have little passive speakers powered by a sub because of that reason, if I were to have a problem, I replace the sub, or just get a little amp. Since I'm mostly using headphones, it doesn't affect me much. To explain that a little, I do sound design work, not so much music work (in the past it was the other way around). With sound design, headphones are preferable, so you can really hear the mix, where speakers are more for touch up afterwards, relating the mix together for perspective. That's why I have big AKG 701s, so I can get to a point where I almost "forget" I'm wearing them, and can focus on the mix. Unless you're in a truly soundproofed room (and most are only 80-90% there), tiny sound leaks can throw you off by a lot.

Without getting into the technicalities of the interfaces and their built in pre-amps, I think you got a great little unit. USB interfaces have progressed a lot, but I find firewire to still be superior in many ways, even if it's not strictly necessary for smaller units, where the data speed is almost irrelevant.

I typically use much larger studio and live performance rack setups, in the past couple years I've lost touch with some of the smaller units, as the ones I specifically have are really just convenient to have on the go, but I wouldn't go so far as saying they could compete with the TC unit in terms of build quality and sound quality. My larger gear, different story, but they're completely different in both budget and quality. That said, I may be getting a new job soon where I move into even bigger sound gear that makes almost everything I own look bad....

And as far as your original statement, I agree 100%. There's no really good "enthusiast" interface that sits between mediocre sound cards and full on interfaces.

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